Armagh 2-21 Wicklow 0-02

Updated: Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 17:18 | Comments

Armagh made light work of Wicklow in the Athletic Grounds
Armagh made light work of Wicklow in the Athletic Grounds

Rampant Armagh routed Wicklow with a 2-21 to 0-02 All-Ireland Football Championship qualifier win at the Athletic Grounds.

Jamie Clarke netted two early goals, including a penalty, and Tony Kernan hit four points as Armagh led by 2-14 to 0-02 at the interval.

A dull second half saw the Orchard add just seven more points, Clarke bringing his tally to 2-03, before leaving the field to a standing ovation on 64 minutes, as the Ulster men strode to a massive 25-points victory margin.

The game started in sensational fashion, with two Jamie Clarke goals inside the opening four minutes.

The opener was shrouded in controversy, the Wicklow players incensed by Derek Fahy’s decision to award a penalty for an off-the-ball incident involving Clarke.

The Crossmaglen star stepped up an slotted the kick expertly past John Flynn, and the Orchard men were off to a flyer.

Disaster struck again for the Leinster side less than two minutes later.

Aaron Kernan sent a free dropping int the goalmouth, where Anthony McLoughlin reached but failed to hold cleanly, and the alert Clarke nipped in to force the ball over the line.

Kevin Dyas and Tony Kernan tagged on points, and the rout had well and truly begun with less than 10 minutes on the clock.

The Wicklow defence was opened up time and again by long and accurate deliveries from deep, with Stephen Harold and the excellent James Lavery laying a solid platform at midfield.

Clarke’s vision created scoring chances which were put away by Harold and Eugene McVerry, with Tony Kernan and Caolan Rafferty also hitting the target as the gap grew to an enormous 16 point margin.

Joey Kelly registered Wicklow’s first point on 27 minutes, and was instantly substituted, before corner back Alan Byrne doubled the Leinster side’s tally.

Armagh led by 2-14 to 0-02 at the break, with eight players already on the score-sheet, including full-back Brendan Donaghy.

Tony Kernan and McVerry stretched the advantage further, but the scores dried up for a time as the home side allowed the tempo to drop.

They went 13 minutes without a score before Aaron Kernan crafted a point for substitute Stefan Campbell

Wicklow full-back Damian Power defended heroically as Armagh stepped up the pace once again, but Harry Murphy’s side was demoralised, and when Clarke landed a couple of delightful points, the visitors were longing for the full-time whistle.

John Flynn pulled off a superb save to deny Stefan Campbell, and when Ethan Rafferty hit a late point, all of Armagh’s starting attackers had scored, and ten players in total had registered.

Wicklow, for their part, failed to manage a single point in the second half.

Armagh: P McEvoy, P McKeown, B Donaghy (0-01), J Morgan, A Kernan, C McKeever, M Shields (0-02), J Lavery, S Harold (0-01), C Rafferty (0-02), K Dyas (0-01), E Rafferty (0-01), J Clarke (2-03, 1-00 pen), T Kernan (0-05, 3f), E McVerry (0-04, 1f).

Subs: F Moriarty for Donaghy, S Campbell (0-01)for Dyas, B Mallon for T Kernan, J Hanratty for Harold, R Grugan for Clarke

Wicklow: J Flynn, C Hyland, D Power, A Byrne (0-01), D Hayden, P McWalter, D Healy, A McLoughlin, R Finn, D O’Sullivan, J Stafford, J Kelly (0-01), J McGrath, S Furlong, P Earls.

Subs: N Mernagh for Kelly, B Coen for Finn, J Sheerin for McLoughlin, L Bension for Hayden, A O’Malley for Earls

Referee: D Fahy (Longford).

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